The nexus of reading, writing and researching in the doctoral undertaking of humanities and social sciences : Implications for literature reviewing

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journal

17 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
Journal / PublicationEnglish for Specific Purposes
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008


One indispensable task in the doctoral undertaking in the humanities and social sciences is that of reviewing the literature. To many graduate students, finding the 'right' direction of reviewing is a particularly grueling experience, a practical concern seldom addressed in thesis manuals and studies of the doctoral thesis. This paper is an attempt to fill this void; it reports on a study that examined how a group of doctoral students (n = 16) determined the focuses of reading for their theses. Stories collected from the students suggest that their awareness of what to review was implicated by various exigencies that emerged in their pilot studies, data collection and data analysis as well as drafting of the literature reviews for their proposals, qualifying reports and theses. The stories run counter to the common demarcation view of the processes of reading, writing and researching. This paper argues for a nexus approach to the three processes in instruction in thesis writing and reading for the thesis. Other pedagogical implications are also discussed. © 2007 The American University.